Word Sum Wednesday: proclamation

Word Sum Wednesday: proclamation


Proclamation came about when a friend secured a city proclamation to designate October as Dyslexia Awareness month. It got me thinking about what is a proclamation, really. I envision a scroll being unrolled as the townspeople gather while a government official shouts about to the people something that the king or government has declared.

A proclamation is “an official public announcement.” The base of this word is <clam(e)> which is from Latin clamare “to cry out.” So, a proclamation is a public crying out. The word sum is pro+clame/+ate/+ion-> proclamation. The slashes are where the letter before it will be replaced when the word is rewritten on the right side of the arrow. This word has one prefix <pro->, a base <clame>, and two suffixes <-ate> and <-ion>. All of these elements are morphemes. They are not syllables. A word sum is made up of morphemes as that is how words are built.

The relatives of this base include: exclamation, acclamation, declamation, declamatory, reclamation, clamor, and clamorous. An exclamation is to make a loud outcry. So an exclamation mark, essentially marks (in text) when the text is loud.  An acclamation is to shout in approval.  The <ac> of acclamation and the <ap> of applaud are assimilated prefixes of <ad-> denoting “towards.” This is not to be confused with acclimation, which is adjusting to “climate,” or surroundings (which also, by the way, has the same assimilated prefix <ac->). It is because of this prefix that there are 2 <c>’s in acclaim, acclamation and acclimation. Declamation is the act of “speaking rhetorically, pompously or bombastically”. The prefix <de-> is being used as an intensifier. So declamation is being intense in the outcry. To call back again is the act of reclamation, to reclaim something back. Often children and pets can be described with clamor or clamorous because they can be loud.

But what about proclaim? A proclamation is something we “proclaim” so why is it spelled differently? Although this word is Latinate, it came to English through French. When these words came to use through French some changes already started to happen from its road from Latin. This original Latin root <clamare> gives us at least two different English bases: <clame> and <claim>. The base <clame> that we are talking about is a bound base. This means that it requires a prefix or suffix to make an English word. The base <claim> stands alone as a free base, but takes affixes as well. Either way both bases have the same denotation of “crying out.”

proclamation – proclaim
reclamation – reclaim
acclamation – acclaim
declamation – declaim
exclamation – exclaim

The last discussion point is about phonology. Here is these words in IPA /ˌpɹɑklə’meɪʃən/ and /pɹoʊ’kleɪm/. IPA are the symbols that represent phones. There is a shift in stress between <proclaim> and <proclamation>. This is the reason there is a different pronunciation of the first vowels. Stress is where we put the emphasis. Although both take the same prefix, the pronunciation shifts. Another aspect of pronunciation is the <t> is being pronounced as /ʃ/. This is often seen when we have these two suffixes together <-ate> + <-ion> -> <-ation>. The <t> can be pronounces as /ʃ/ before an <i>, and can be seen often in these situations (<– see there is another <t> as /ʃ/).

Well, I hope my proclamation about the base has helped make some connections between words. While I’m not one for exclamation, I’m quite quiet and don’t ever ask for acclamation. Hopefully you can read without too much clamor going on in the background. My goal is to help people get acclimated to word sums.


“Help Make October Dyslexia Awareness Month” Dyslexia Parent Support Group of Huntington Beach, https://www.facebook.com/events/181564559053111/?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A%2222%22%2C%22feed_story_type%22%3A%2222%22%2C%22action_history%22%3A%22null%22%7D&pnref=story

“Proclamation.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proclamation.

“Proclamation.” Etymonline, Etymonline, http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=proclamation